WASHINGTON (AP) – House Speaker John Boehner says the farm bill should be extended through January while negotiators work out differences on cuts to food stamps and how to restructure farm subsidies. Negotiators are working against a New Year’s deadline for expiration of some dairy subsidies. If those subsidies expire, new laws will kick in that could result in higher prices for a gallon of milk.
Boehner said Thursday he hasn’t “seen any real progress” on the farm bill. That’s in contrast to comments from House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, who said Wednesday that negotiators have made “great progress.”
Cuts to the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program are a major sticking point in talks.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Farmers growing food to sell locally are increasingly finding willing customers to buy their products. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, which is based at Iowa State University, says it tracked sales of 103 farmers who reported more than $10 million in local food sales in 2012. Most of the food was purchased by grocery stores, restaurants, schools, colleges, hospitals, nursing homes and nonprofit organizations. The organizations reported they spent just under 9 percent of their total food budget on food grown by local farmers.
The group’s goal is to increase the food purchased by local organizations to 30 percent of their total food budgets. That would boost local food purchasing to more than $21 million increasing income for the farmers and encouraging them to hire additional help.
On the heels of news about two young boys who died after falling through the ice in a rural farm pond in Adams County over the weekend, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has issued some tips for those thinking about venturing out into area ponds and lakes…..
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad will go to Virginia this week to testify against a proposal to reduce the amount of ethanol required to be blended into gasoline. Branstad announced his plans Tuesday, saying he’ll testify Thursday at a public hearing organized by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA proposes to reduce by almost 3 billion gallons the amount of biofuels required to be blended into gasoline in 2014.
Branstad is among many politicians and industry executives who are defending the current levels of ethanol and biodiesel in the nation’s fuel supply. At a recent event, Branstad argued the EPA has embarked on a war on corn that threatens thousands of jobs. Iowa is the nation’s leading corn producer and top ethanol maker.
The first shotgun deer season in Iowa opens this coming Saturday (December 7th), while the bow hunting season that’s underway will continue through January 10th. D-N-R wildlife research supervisor, Willie Suchy says your odds of taking a deer get better in the shotgun season. “In 2012 the shotgun hunters had 35-40-percent success and archery was right around 25, in that neighborhood — so about 10-percent less,” Suchy says. While the chances are better you’ll get a deer with a shotgun,
Suchy says bow hunting has some of its own advantages. “Archery has allure from two aspects of it,” Suchy explains, “One is it’s a longer season so you’ve got more time to spend. You get to kind of specialize on working on deer.” And the second factor is some hunters believe the lower success rate of bow hunting tests their skill more. “I think it’s a challenge for some people,” Suchy says. Hunters have to prepare differently for each method.
“Hunting is a very safe activity overall and the dangers are a little bit different between hunting with a bow and hunting with a shotgun or firearm,” according to Suchy. “Bow hunters tend to sit in stands and trees and most of the injuries tend to occur in mishaps in stands where they fall.” The shotgun season sees more problems with hunters not using proper safety practices. “With firearms it’s more of making sure that you’re shooting at a clear target so you know where the bullet is going to go — so if you’re hunting in a group there’s nobody in danger,” Suchy says.
The first shotgun deer season runs through December 11th. The second shotgun season runs December 14th through the 22nd.
Find out more at: www.iowadnr.gov.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Agriculture economists have long warned that aging farmers are staying on their land longer, delaying turnover to a younger generation. But Ohio State University agriculture economist Carl Zulauf says the fears have been overstated. Zulauf said in a report last month that history shows there’s an influx of young farmers when it’s possible to earn a good living. Farm income will likely reach a record $131 billion this year.
Iowa State University economist Mike Duffy still worries that the percentage of farm land held by people older than 75 has increased at an unprecedented pace in the last two decades. Lindsey Lusher Shute, a 34-year-old farmer from Clermont, New York says getting started has been “incredibly difficult” but she and her husband are slowly making it work.
Water levels on the Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam have been falling in recent days and the levels will continue to fall as releases from the dam are further cut back. Dave Becker, operations manager for the U-S Army Corps of Engineers at the dam, says they are headed into their winter flow pattern which will be lower this year as the region is still recovering from the drought of 2012. Becker says, “We have been stepping down our releases at 3,000 cubic feet per second per day, starting on (November) 23rd, hoping to get down to about 15,000 CFS.” Once that level is reached, he says it’s typical to hold up on any further cuts in the flow rate.
“They’ll run 15,000 for a few days and see if we’re still meeting the water needs downstream and if we are, they’ll probably inch us down to 12,000,” he says. Not only is navigation an issue, but some communities along the Missouri River have intakes for their water systems at certain heights. Flows coming from the dam are well below what would be normal for winter levels, as the reservoir system upstream is still rebounding from the effects of last year’s drought.
“On a normal situation, when the reservoir system is at a level where we can support that, we have a winter flow of 17,000,” Becker says. “Because we’re a little low in the reservoir system yet, they’re conserving water.” Even though 2013 has been a little wetter than normal, the system is still recovering from the severe drought of 2012. With the changes following the months-long flood of 2011, Becker says 12,000 cubic feet per second today is equivalent to a flow of 8,000 cubic feet several years ago.
The non-profit Easter Seals Iowa organization has named a 50-year old Villisca man as its “Farmer of the Year.” The Daily NonPareil reports Russell Boseck received the honor Nov. 19th during the Easter Seals Iowa annual meeting at Camp Sunnyside, in Des Moines. Easter Seals is a group that ensures people with disabilities and special needs have equal opportunities. Russell has farmed for 20 years and utilizes a wheelchair.
Boseck said he overcame a lot of things because of his disability. He was still motivated to do hard work on his father’s farm, which he took over about six years ago. Boseck started a bottle calf program for day-old calves. He cares for about 200 calves each year. He then transports, raises and sells them. A new calf barn also was designed with a steel structure, which allowed small pens to be placed for wheelchair accessibility.
Boseck sells his cattle mostly through Internet sales and livestock auctions. His customers have included those from western Nebraska, South Dakota and Kansas City, Mo.